Nissa Nordland

Last updated

November 13, 2022
 

Biography

Nissa Nordland is an actor, writer, producer and musician in the Twin Cities. She is a company member of Theatre Pro Rata; is the Artistic Director of Twin Cities Horror Festival; produces new original work as Special When Lit; is a member of the Playwright's Cabal and is an alum mainstage cast member/writer of the Brave New Workshop. She's had the pleasure of working with nimbus theatre, Four Humors, The Winding Sheet Outfit, Wayward Theatre Company, Dangerous Productions, Mission Theatre Company, Theatre Unbound, HUGE Improv Theatre, Aethem Theatre, Classical Actors Ensemble, Fortune's Fool Theatre, The Buoyant Group, Artistry, Ghoulish Delights, The Red Letter Society, Theatre in the Round, and Lyric Arts. She played TinaCorn on Noodle Pie Island and Fiona in the Theatre People web series; Their Town.  Additionally, she enjoys playing pinball, tarot, crystals, cross stitching and anything about dinosaurs.

Nordland is represented by NUTS, ltd and Ruggiero Models and Talent. 

Awards/Nominations:

  • Winner of Minnesota Fringe Artist Pick for Finger Lickin' Good; Special When Lit; 2022. 
  • Atlanta Audio Fringe Critics’ Choice Award Honorable Mention for Best Writing; “Possible Burger”, May 2022.
  • Winner of the "TC Arts Reader Critics' Choice Award" for Xena and Gabrielle Smash the Patriarchy, 2019. (Playwright/Actor).
  • Winner of the "Minnesota Fringe Theatre in the Round Venue Award" for Xena and Gabrielle Smash the Patriarchy, 2019. (Playwright/Actor)
  • Nominated for "Best Original/New Work" by TC Broadway World for The Fae. (Playwright); 2018.
  • Winner of Z-Fest Film Festival "Best WTF Moment" for Housewarming by Some Tiger; 2017. "Housewarming" was also nominated for Best Fantasy/Sci-Fi Film. (Actor)
  • Nominated for Z-Fest Film Festival's "Best Actress" for her dual roles as Maren and Bizarro Maren in Maren & the Machine, 2016
  • Second Place Winner of MN Shorts Play Festival for Catnipped; 2015. (Playwright)

UPCOMING: 

  • Untitled Ghost Play; Playwright, Special When Lit; Blight Christmas; December 2022
  • By the Bog of Cats; Caroline; Theatre Pro Rata; March 17-April 2, 2023

MOST RECENT CREDITS:

  • Playwright/Morgan in Stabby Stab Stab; Special When Lit/The Winding Sheet Outfit; Twin Cities Horror Festival October 2022
  • Abigail Adams, Lucretia Garfield, Edith Wilson, Lou Hoover, Ladybird Johnson and more in 46 Plays for America's First Ladies; Theatre Pro Rata, October 2022. 
  • Co-Writer/Chicken Ensemble/Producer; Finger Lickin' Good; Special When Lit; Minnesota Fringe 2022. 
  • Marianne Dashwood, Kitty Bennet, Louisa Musgrove, Georgiana Darcy and more. Miss Woodhouse Presents; Aethem Theater; April 2022
  • Queen Elizabeth, Ensemble; Orlando; Theatre Pro Rata, March 2022
  • Griselda, Jeanine, & Nell; Top Girls; Theatre Pro Rata, November 2021
  • Lord Sortof; The Convent of Pleasure; Theatre Pro Rata, MN Fringe 2021
  • TinaCorn; Noodle Pie Island; children's web series, Spring 2021-2022

REVIEWS:
"The girls are brought to vivid life by the shows Playwright Nissa Nordland Morgan as Morgan and Kayla Dvorak Feld as Anissa. Nordland Morgan brings her uncanny ability to play childlike without crossing over into cloying childishness. Her character is the one who stabs and her performance makes clear that the girl is young, naive and suffering from mental illness that has caused a relaxation of her grip on reality. Her script, the result of exhaustive research includes texts between the girls and even a short story written by Morgan. All of this is giving us a picture of the girls tween world view and it brings some modicum of understanding to such an unfathomable act." - The Stages of MN review of Stabby Stab Stab

"Written by SWL's Nissa Nordland and directed by TWSO's Amber Bjork, it really is the perfect blend of the former company's wild sense of fun and the latter's meticulous and thoughtful attention to detail. Nissa and Kayla Dvorak Feld play the two girls, both so believable and somehow empathetic despite their horrible deeds....this show effectively tells this true story with a thorough, thoughtful, and consistent tone of creepiness, tragedy, and humanness." Cherry & Spoon review of Stabby Stab Stab

"Nissa Nordland Morgan (who also wrote the play) and Kayla Dvorak Feld are unnervingly believable as pre-teen girls who become obsessed with Slenderman and plan a murder to appease him. Based on a true story, this show covers a lot of story and character in just one hour. Director Amber Bjork makes the most of the intimate Crane studio space and the show design is spare but effective. Perfectly timed projections depict the girls' online conversation and music by Derek Lee Miller and Sam Landman create a chilling atmosphere. "MN Theater Love review of Stabby Stab Stab

“The cast, comprised of local performers that I see throughout the year Christy Johnson, Heather Meyer, Anjeline Ramirez, Sif Oberon, and multi-talented Nissa Nordland Morgan. They are all wonderful, but I just have to say Morgan never stops surprising me. I know she can write, I know she is a fantastically funny character actor, but I didn’t know that she was such a good singer. My favorite moments involve her singing with her guitar. I don’t know if this is just a talent I hadn’t been exposed to before or what, but I definitely want a heads up next time she’s doing a set somewhere.” - The Stages of MN review of 46 Plays for America’s First Ladies

"I don't know what kind of genius and/or warped minds think of an idea like this, but it's cluckin' brilliant". Cherry & Spoon review of Finger Lickin' Good

"The ensemble (the playwrights Heather Meyer and Nissa Nordland along with Rita Boersma, Jonathan Feld, and Duck Washington, all playing multiple roles, and chickens) are hilariously over the top as they tell this story, using lots of clever chicken props. " Cherry & Spoon review of Finger Lickin' Good

"Audiences may come for the salacious show image (the best one in the fest this year), but they'll be rewarded by a wholly original and wildly creative story about an iconic figure whom we thought we knew, but it turns out we didn't know him at all." Cherry & Spoon review of Finger Lickin' Good; Cherry and Spoon: Minnesota Fringe Festival 2022: "Finger Lickin' Good"

"FINGER LICKIN’ GOOD is the hilarious “true” story behind everyone’s favorite bucket of chicken, KFC. We follow the life of Colonel Harland David Sanders as he recounts how the business began, how it grew, and how greed and chicken go hand in hand. It’s funny, clever, punny as heck, over the top energy and fun, original, and at times sexy. Another Must See!" - Lettered in Theatre review of Finger Lickin' Good

"Finger Lickin' Good: the sheer volume of comedic talent stuffed into this one Fringe show is ridiculous; VERY loosely based on the life of a very horny Colonel Sanders of KFC fame; very funny, but chickens will have their revenge - 4.5 stars" - Matthew Everett review of Finger Lickin' Good

“Standouts are the always impressive Nissa Nordland Morgan who plays, among other chorus roles, Queen Elizabeth. Nordland Morgan is a master of character work and she has multiple memorable turns here always finding a way to add some extra twinkle through her physicality.” Rob Dunkelberger's review of "Orlando"

"Nordland Morgan's formidable and hilarious Queen Elizabeth" - Single White Fringe Geek review of "Orlando"

"Nissa Nordland Morgan has a far more subtle role as Patient Griselda, but persuasively expresses the strength, even achievement, underlying her submissiveness." - Talkin' Broadway review of "Top Girls"

"and Nissa Nordland Morgan as Lord Sortof, whose rendition of a classic fool made him the smartest of the three male characters while earning the biggest laughs." -  Talkin' Broadway review, "The Convent of Pleasure"

"Kelsey Laurel Cramer, Nissa Nordland Morgan, and Taj Ruler play Lords Somewhat, Sortof, and Soso, who try to woo the ladies, devilishly twirling their greasepaint mustaches."- Cherry and Spoon review, "The Convent of Pleasure"

"Nissa Nordland and Lauren Anderson are both very funny women, and they work well together. The running gag was that since this was on the internet, who knows if anyone's watching, so they can do whatever they want with "no consequences!" Sketches included a spoof of a work zoom meeting with a surprise appearance, Lauren afflicted with "cool disease," Nissa singing a silly song, and my favorite - a Jane Austen spoof called "Dignity and Displeasure." And as a (former) clarinetist, I very much appreciated Nissa's playing between scenes, and her pre-show covers of such classics as "My Heart Will Go On" and "Music of the Night." -- Cherry and Spoon review of "Lauren and Nissa Present: Fun Times"

"You won't know how at first , but you can be damn sure this is going to end in blood. The scariest part, though, is that it is apparent that the adherents of Caretaker Dan are going to continue to spin his gospel of surrender and sacrifice to even worse ends in the future." - Minnesota Playlist review of "Incarnate", Derek Lee Miller. 

"Incarnate is an immersive experience, placing the audience in the congregation of a nature-based religious organization. If you're thinking it sounds like a cult, you're right. Of course, things are not as peaceful and loving as they seem, though there's still some shock value to the denouement....this was one of the most visceral experiences at the Festival. Lauren Anderson is great as a church leader, and the cast members really commit to their religious fervor. Nissa Nordland Morgan, who is also the writer, is very convincing acolyte, and her fervent exclamations of "Joyful Harvest!" will stay with me." - Minnesota Theatre Love reivew of "Incarnate"

"Fans of Midsommar will want to check out Incarnate, which feels like a harvest-themed companion piece to Ari Aster’s new movie. It’s set in a cultish religious community that favors agricultural metaphors; you know it’s going to be good as soon as the priceless Lauren Anderson steps forth, spreads her arms, and joyfully cries, “Swing the sickle!” - City Page review of "Incarnate", Jay Gabler

"Younger sister Léa (Nordland Morgan) begins the play a naif, following the lead of her more experienced sibling. But there’s a shift somewhere along the way and it is Léa who is helping angry, overwrought Christine get through the day. Almost like partnered dancers, Feld and Morgan create a sense of the sisters as a single entity, a roiling bundle of hostility that will eventually explode." Star Tribune review of "My Sister in this House"; Chris Hewitt

"Bratlie Wethern’s superior acting quartet is reminiscent of the brilliantly subtle and nuanced performances you see in the films of Ingmar Bergman, Alfred Hitchcock, Sergei Bondarchuk and Andrei Tarkovsky....The four actresses ingeniously convey minute movements, whether a change in the rhythm of chewing, an overreaction to a dropped object, a relishing of a simple piece of candy, as if they were the most important moment happening on the entire planet at that point in time. Beguiling! 

The sister performances are devastating. Kayla Dvorak Feld creates as crisply unnerved Christine, breathlessly trying to foresee and forestall what might happen. Emphasis on “might”. Kesselman seems to sense that the fear of what might happen is something that rules our lives far too powerfully. Nissa Nordland Morgan’s effervescent Lea is like the conscience of the play, as we measure the restrictiveness the other characters place on themselves and on one another against Lea’s free spirit. These two actresses are intrinsically interconnected. The signs of incestuous attraction are subtle as there’s so often a fine line between nonsexual physical affection and libidinal power. These two navigate that zone brilliantly." Lavendar review of "My Sister in this House"; John Townsend (https://www.lavendermagazine.com/our-scene/breaking-the-rules-of-the-game-pro-ratas-my-sister-in-this-house-mines-the-lesbianic-the-mystifying/)

"The all-female cast of four is striking. Kayla Dvorak Feld is a tenderly terrifying Christine Lutton, the older of the two sisters, and Nissa Norland Morgan contrasts Feld’s somber and resolute creepiness with childish naïveté... We see thoughts as they form in the minds of the actors; we hear the snaps and cracks of relationships crumbling, and all the while we have the distinct sense of foreboding one can only get from knowing a story’s end before its beginning. " - MN Playlist review of "My Sister in this House"; Melissa Miller

"Giordano makes a fierce queen, especially in the proximity of Gremlin’s space, and you can practically see the sparks flying when she and Singh/Electra go head-to-head in their verbal sparring. Some haunting, original music by Nordland completes the trifecta." Twin Cities Art Reader review of "Iphigenia and Other Daughters" (https://twincitiesarts.com/2019/03/10/review-powerful-unbound-iphigenia-...)

As Iphigenia, Nissa Nordland conveys the vanity and cluelessness of one who was always made to believe they mattered above all, not lacking in intelligence, but unable to put it to use beyond the narrow range of her vision, as discovering Clytemnestra killed Agamemnon to avenge her death, remarking brightly, ‘I'm impressed. I didn't know I rated that level of vengeance.’” Talkin Broadway review of “Iphigenia and Other Daughters” (https://www.talkinbroadway.com/page/regional/minn/minn817.html)

"The five actors playing named characters all give strong, sympathetic, truthful performances, individually and as a beautifully dysfunctional family... Iphigenia and Other Daughters tells ancient women's stories in a fresh and modern way that's relatable today, making it obvious why these stories have survived for so long." Cherry & Spoon Review (http://www.cherryandspoon.com/2019/03/iphigenia-and-other-daughters-by.html)

"British playwright Caryl Churchill’s dystopian 2000 play gets an intriguing, must-see production. The most haunting scene is when hooded, handcuffed figures with fancy headgear are paraded on their way to execution as an onstage audience applauds, seeing only the fashion and oblivious to their roles in a world order that benefits them but is built on horror." Rohan Preston, Star Tribune review of "Far Away" @ Minnesota Fringe Festival (http://www.startribune.com/our-10-favorite-shows-at-the-minnesota-fringe...)

"The Ravagers is a play you won’t soon forget, with an ominous soundscape performed live by multi-instrumentalist Nissa Nordland." Jay Gabler, City Pages MN Review of Savage Umbrella's "The Ravagers" (http://www.citypages.com/arts/savage-umbrella-ravages-at-can-cans-new-th...)

" The eerie feel is greatly enhanced by the live soundtrack performed by Nissa Nordland..." Amy Donahue, Twin Cities Art Reader Review of Savage Umbrella's "The Ravagers"

"Sometimes scary is sexy, as demonstrated by The Fae. Playwright/actor Nissa Nordland Morgan and director Ben Layne have four ignorant Americans stumble into a supernatural orgy on the Isle of Man, where getting literally fucked to death by a silver-skinned fairy (Marci Lucht) is a best-case scenario, because this pagan party never ends." Jay Gabler, City Pages MN Review of "The Fae" at Twin Cities Horror Festival (http://www.citypages.com/arts/twin-cities-horror-fest-terrifies-audience...)

"Gorgeously costumed and featuring some fabulous movement, this tale of humans venturing into the faery world has some amazing imagery and an interesting story." MN Theatre Love review of "The Fae" at Twin Cities Horror Festival
(http://www.mntheaterlove.com/2017/10/twin-cities-horror-festival-vi-why-...)

"Then there are those actors! In almost every single one of my reviews, I rave about one or two performers, and then talk about the others if need be. However, I can’t tell you who the best performer in this remount is because this is an incredible ensemble that I am still in awe of. To keep up this level of energy for this long is a feat in and of itself and to bring such a heartwrenching conclusion so naturally is nothing short of masterful. Savage Umbrella’s devotion to ensemble work is never more apparent than in Ex-Gays." Cassandra Snow, The Column review of "Ex-Gays: Not a Str8 Remount"

"Avery, Leffler, and the cast set the production on a knife-edge balance of absurdity and pathos, a tone that's tragically fitting for 2017." Jay Gabler, City Pages MN review of "Ex-Gays: Not a Str8 Remount"

"What makes this play so powerful is the go-for-broke characterizations brought to life by the talented ensemble. Although this is very obviously a satire, over the course of two quickly passing hours you really do come to care for characters..." Basil Considine, Twin Cities  Arts Reader of "Ex-Gays: Not a Str8 Remount"

"Marci Lucht goes full diva as Adriana, spouse of the more settled Antipholus. Waving a martini glass and perpetually brimming with indignation, she’s more than ready for The Real Housewives of Ephesus. Nissa Nordland Morgan plays Adriana’s sister Luciana, and Morgan’s sweeter demeanor pairs nicely with Lucht’s sour pucker."- Jay Gabler, City Pages Minneapolis review of "The Comedy for Errors"

"Nissa Nordland Morgan provides backup as the more restrained Luciana, seemingly happy to play second fiddle to her glamorous sister." - Lisa BrockStar Tribune review of "The Comedy of Errors"

"Besides the twins, other highlights in the cast include Marci Lucht as Antipholus' long-suffering wife, Nissa Nordland Morgan as her supportive sister..." Cherry and Spoon review "The Comedy of Errors"

"This Ghost Train is presented in a highly stylized way of acting that is so far over the top it almost brings you back down the other side again.  It feels like it must be absolutely exhausting for the performers, and at the same time kind of a treat to just let loose like that.  Because everyone is permitted to be very BIG at all times.  There are no low gears in this play, everyone’s in high gear right out of the gate.  It’s hard to maintain that level of energy for a full evening but this cast delivers and doesn’t flag."- Matthew Everett review of "The Ghost Train"

" These are the kind of artists, Wayward and Mission are the kind of companies, and Ghost Train is the kind of theater that makes the Twin Cities' theater community so deep, rich, and great."- Cherry and Spoon review of "The Ghost Train"

"Highlights in the cast include...Nissa Nordland Morgan as her sweet daughter Ansa who wants to escape.." Cherry and Spoon review of "The Kalevala"

"Individual actors have moments when they truly shine –  Nissa Nordland Morgan’s naïve enthusiasm as Ansa stood out." Sophie Kerman, MN Playlist review of "The Kalevala"

"As funny as the show promises to be, it manages to exceed that. The friend I brought with me referred to Nissa Nordland as a “comedic tour de force” in the role of the fed up beauty pageant contestant, and I can’t think of a better turn of phrase than that to describe her sensational performance. In a three person cast I rarely expect one performer to be so outrageously good that they completely steal every moment they are on stage, but Nordland manages to do so..." Cassandra Snow, The Column review of "The Taming"

"Katherine (the hilarious and extremely expressive Nissa Nordland) is an uber-patriotic beauty pageant contestant who wants to rewrite the constitution. And the thing is, she doesn't sound crazy." - Cherry and Spoon review of  "The Taming"

"The entire play, which runs 90 minutes with no intermission, is directed with the exaggerated, winking energy of sketch comedy. It is impossible to take any of the three main characters seriously. For that matter, founding fathers Madison and Pinckney have the demeanor of overzealous college debate opponents, and George Washington [Nordland] conveys the folksy confidence of a white-powder wigged Bill Clinton. Of the players, Nissa Nordland, as the beauty queen, establishes the most engaging character, drawing out the mix of madness and wisdom in her contradictions." -  Arthur Dorman, Talkin' Broadway review of "The Taming"

"Of course, the creative ingenuity of a charismatic troupe consisting of longtime favorites and relative newcomers (including Lauren Anderson, Ryan Nelson, Nissa Nordland, Kory Pullam, Tom Reed, and Taj Ruler) all but guarantees an invigorated blend of comic sensibilities." Brad Richason, City Pages review of "The Working Dead"

"Kory Pullam and Nissa Nordland make comic sparks with their romantic longings that aren’t quite fulfilled...There’s so much truth behind the humor that it’s almost scary. Situations are exaggerated just a tiny bit more than they are in the real world, so hopefully this crew is not prescient and we are actually laughing at our occupational future!" - Renee Valois, Pioneer Press review of "The Working Dead"

Video

Maren and the Machine

NORTH MEMORIAL HEALTH | "FISHING" COMMERCIAL

BNW Retells "A Christmas Carol"

Photos